SARATOGA – 8/26/2023
RACE 1: 3-8-2-6
#3 SECRET LOVER is a second time starter for a barn that has hit with a couple of 2YO second timers at this stand. This colt had a tough trip last time out when 4th at 34-1 against a maiden auction field and should benefit from having experience. The main players here are hardly easy to embrace on paper, so give this one extra consideration at a price.
RACE 2: 1/1A-6-8-2
#1 CITY MISCHIEF should have won last time out but bobbled badly in the final sixteenth of a mile. He goes 2nd off a layoff and should be close to the pace in a race with only one confirmed speedster. The other half of the entry, #1A IMAGE OF QUALITY, is capable of winning as well first time on turf given the pedigree. OFF THE TURF: 12-14-13-10
RACE 3: 1-4-3-6
The trip endured by #1 WHAT’S UP DOC last time out was much worse than it looks on paper. He was bumped and lost position straightening away down the backstretch, then middle moved to reach contention. He was inside for much of the journey in a race with a decided outside flow by the end of the day. The distance is within his scope and this is a far weaker event for the level than the one he exits from two weeks ago.
RACE 4: 1-6-3-9
While last time was the better time to have #1 SCOCCIATORE, he is a player once again at a fair price. The rail draw is no bargain, but he raced comfortably along the inside last time out and should be in stalk and pounce range again. This son of Central Banker loves Saratoga and is quick enough to stay within range from the start.
RACE 5: 6-7-1-3
#6 NOBEL has shown enough speed in prior starts overseas to be given serious consideration here. He makes his North American debut this afternoon after showing some life two starts back with a frontrunning trip on the synthetic strip. The distance should be his friend and this barn hasd one well with European imports over the years. OFF THE TURF: 10-1A-4-5
RACE 6: 9-4-10-6
#9 JUST F Y I is a firster by Justify, whose progeny hit at a 24% clip on debut and the dam has produced a couple of winners from as many to race. This filly is training well and jockey Junior Alvarado hops off her stablemate one door to the outside to ride this gal. The outside draw is ideal for a first time starter.
RACE 7: 2-3-5
The day’s first Grade I is a rematch between #2 GUNITE and #3 ELITE POWER with the latter getting the best of things in two straight. The Vanderbilt from last month played out more in Gunite’s favor, but the lack of speed today might given him an even bigger edge. At seven panels having speed is an even bigger weapon and an aggressive ride will help this Grade I winning son of Gun Runner.
RACE 8: 5-10-12-2
#5 HARRY TIME is a major player dropping in class after chasing a brutal pace in the Mahony last time out. He was breaking from the rail that day and was asked for speed right out of the gate, which led to him contesting a white hot pace. Today’s jockey is generally a bit more passive early and should have him in a stalking position from the outset.
RACE 9: 4-6-3-5
The showdown here is between the three riders towards the outside, starting with #6 ARABIAN LION. A recent Grade I winner at Monmouth, he might meet his biggest challenge from stablemate #4 FORT BRAGG. That graded stake winner took the Dwyer in game fashion last time out over Saudi Crown, who nearly won the Jim Dandy in his next start. The fact that both Bob Baffert trainees can sit just off the pace is a weapon given that the pace in here should be hotly contested.
RACE 10: 6-8-7-2
#6 ECHO ZULU has been remarkably consistent throughout her career and enters off her best effort yet. She grabbed control of that race at once from the rail and should be the controlling speed once again today. Her perfect Saratoga record includes a couple of graded stake wins and she seems to have wrested control of this division from #7 GOODNIGHT OLIVE.
RACE 11: 3-7-6-1
After much consideration, the nod went to #3 BOLSHOI BALLET, who has gotten back into respectable form in 2023 and should get firmer ground today. Even with rain on Thursday and Friday, the condition of the inner turf course should be much firmer than what he traversed last time out at Ascot. This Grade I winner has enough tactical speed to be a major threat in crunch time and will be no worse than the third choice today.
RACE 12: 2-3-1-5
There’s no point giving up on #2 ARCANGELO yet. He has been off since a Belmont Stakes triumph earned in fine fashion, as he rode the rails to a commanding mid-stretch lead before holding sway. The son of 2017 Travers winner Arrogate showed increased speed in the Test of the Champion and should be within range of the early tempo again today. He has continued to train forwardly including a very serious drill here three weeks ago.
RACE 13: 2-1/1A-3-5
#2 FLY RIGHT is back on turf after a poor effort last time out on the main track. He has enough speed to protect the inside draw and was a good second two back going 10 panels. If he can stalk and pounce he’ll be a major threat and should be the best alternative to the heavily favored entry. OFF THE TURF: 15-14-12-5
SARATOGA 2023 STATS: 323-82-50-53 $518.40